Name: Martin Scott, Forever Interiors
Location: The Junction, Toronto
Size: Workshop 2,500 square feet, Store 2,000 square feet
Years Occupied: 8 years
Dividing his time between his workshop and the Forever Interiors storefront, prolific furniture designer Martin Scott has his work cut out for him. With clients ranging from Starbucks Coffee Co. (who commissioned a 36 ft. salvaged church pew to install at one location) to design-loving couples in nesting mode, the demand for his handmade, repurposed creations has never been higher.
Some fall in love with a particular finished piece found on the floor of the neighborhood shop, while others place custom orders to fit the specific needs of their space (like the dozens of cafes and restaurants around the city who have outfitted their establishments with his tables and signage).
The wood Martin works with is sourced locally, mostly from old house and church demolitions. Sometimes he'll get mass quantities of lumber at once, making it possible to fill larger custom orders. His flair for creating unique yet practical furniture from seemingly impractical origins adds an element of surprise to each piece – bowling alley lane planks become dinning room tables, barn doors are converted into headboards, church pews that didn’t quite survive the demolition get divided into restaurant signage and chalk boards, broken gates are revived as coffee tables — each one transformed into a robust anchor piece whose beauty lies in its simplicity. Some of his designs retain more of their history than others, proudly wearing weathered paint patches, aged hinges or cart wheels, while others undergo complete refinishing before being paired with newly welded modern table legs. There are 6 styles to choose from, each one cleverly designed to come apart for easy installation.
Perhaps Martin’s greatest achievement is the artistry with which he draws old forest souls slowly out of the tired lumber, leaving enough character to suggest their age before giving them a contemporary design treatment. These enchanting furnishings accent modern interiors as easily as industrial, coastal, and farmhouse-chic spaces. And regular visits to The Forever Interiors store prove that Martin's collection of designs is in no danger of slowing down. With new designs appearing every week, he's on a roll.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Rustic, industrial, cottage, Canadiana.
Inspiration: The Canadiana look. Most of the inspiration comes from the material itself. The colour, shape & texture of the wood that we get says it all. Most, if not all, is sourced from Toronto homes and churches. The vintage is from 1880 to 1930 and is definitely local.
Favorite Element: The less-than-perfect look. All the elements of the old wood are retained, but the style says new.
Biggest Challenge: Finding wood in large enough quantities at times... we have to stock up for winter!
What Clients Say: The response is great — customers love the products, and repeat business is big. I wish we could make everything that is requested by our customers, but we are limited to products that we design and develop over time.
Biggest Embarrassment: In the past our doors were not always open when customers arrived, but we've alleviated that problem — we are now open and staffed seven days a week, no excuses.
Proudest DIY: It's all DIY!
Best Advice: Do that thing in life that you enjoy, do it well and others will enjoy it as well.
Dream Sources: This might sound evil, but to get the vast majority of lumber from one church every year... this would of course leave a world full of sinners.
Resources of Note:
My suppliers are varied, but they are the troopers that drive their trucks, vans, cars, bicycles and even shopping carts around collecting stuff and reselling it to the likes of my store.
Many thanks to MC3 Demolition and various other demo companies that collect and deliver wood to me on a regular basis. And my welder - he's the best! And Bonnie Journeau is responsible for the beautiful chalk calligraphy and Forever Interiors logo design.
(Images: Justice Darragh)
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